Unofficial results in Tuesday’s primary showed voters choosing incumbent Kim Ellison and first-time candidate Michael Dueñes to face off in the general election for the at-large seat on the Minneapolis school board.
Christa Mims and Adriana Cerrillo, also newcomers, will go head-to-head for the District 4 seat to represent an area including downtown and neighborhoods around Lake of the Isles and Bde Maka Ska.
Ellison received more than half of the votes counted in her race Tuesday, more than double Dueñes’ second-place total for the at-large seat. Mims received 44% of the votes; Cerrillo netted 38% in the District 4 primary.
The candidates will compete to join the board of Minnesota’s third-largest school district as it adjusts to operating during a pandemic and plans to roll out a controversial redistricting plan. The redrawn attendance boundaries and other changes aimed at reducing inequity are to take effect in the 2021-2022 school year.
The Minneapolis DFL Party endorsed Ellison for the at-large seat and Mims, a Hennepin County social worker, for the District 4 seat. Also competing for that seat were Cerillo, a community organizer and activist, and Ken Shain.
The Minneapolis teachers union did not endorse a candidate in the primary.
The Comprehensive District Design plan divided the primary candidates for the citywide seat. Ellison, who first joined the board in 2012, supported the proposal, which was approved in May. Her challengers, Dueñes, William Awe, Lynne Crockett and Doug Mann, all criticized the plan.
Dueñes, a Mexican American, is the former dean of liberal arts and global education at North Hennepin Community College. His priorities include creating equitable programs, ensuring financial accountability and understanding why families leave the district.
He said the primary results showed that voters are ready for a change.
Ellison said she felt the results showed people have faith in her. “I hope it means we’re on the right track,” she said.
Mims said she was “blown away” by voters’ support.
“This is going to be a year with a lot of transition,” she said. “We need strong leadership in these uncertain times.”